Summary: Introduction of Miss Marple as she solves the murder of the despised Colonel Protheroe.
Thoughts: I have read a few other Miss Marples and I d...moreSummary: Introduction of Miss Marple as she solves the murder of the despised Colonel Protheroe.
Thoughts: I have read a few other Miss Marples and I definitely prefer her to Poirot; I'm not really sure why. I love when she brings in references to events that don't seem to have any significance to the story. I really liked the characters and while I didn't solve the mystery I did not establish an attachment toward her/him as I have done in other mysteries. The vicar, who narrates, is quite likeable. And of course we get to meet Miss Marple.
Overall: 3.5/5 The story starts out fine but it falters toward the end. Of course I will continue to read all of the Christies.(less)
The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie Bantam Books, 1931 201 pages Mystery; Cozy 3.5/5 stars British Books; Cozy Mysteries
Summary: After...moreThe Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie Bantam Books, 1931 201 pages Mystery; Cozy 3.5/5 stars British Books; Cozy Mysteries
Summary: After a seance that predicts the death of Colonel Trevelyan, Major Burnaby journeys to his friend's house only to discover him dead. His nephew John Pearson is soon arrested as the most likely suspect but his fiancee Emily Trefusis is determined to solve the mystery and prove him innocent.
Thoughts: When I think about Agatha Christie mysteries, I mostly judge based on two aspects: the solution to the murder and the characters especially the main one. This Christie failed on both levels for me although until the end I was finding the story to be a very strong one. I think that was because it was one of her earlier ones-from 1931 as you can see.
The murder solution was unsatisfactory because I really liked the murderer and I thought the motive was stupid although heavily foreshadowed. I am also uncertain that there were really enough clues to understand his/her chance to kill the victim although again there was plenty of motive around.
I also did not like the main character, Miss Emily Trefusis who is engaged to the presumed murderer James Pearson and starts investigating to clear his name. She is a manipulative, strong-willed young woman who I disliked as insincere and as wasting her time on an unworthy man.
However the other characters are very colorful such as the invalid and bossy Miss Percehouse, journalist Charles Enderby, voluble Mrs Curtis, and Inspector Narracott. I did confuse a feel of them because they had less distinct personalities but overall I enjoyed spending time in Sittaford.
Overall: A strong mystery that is pretty good but I disliked some parts and that ruined it for me.
Cover: I was surprised to see a seance at the beginning although as they called it "table-turning" I was at first confused. That seance is so important. (less)
Summary: Jerry Burton and his sister Joanna have moved to a small, quiet, and peaceful town in England to ease his convalescence. What they get though...moreSummary: Jerry Burton and his sister Joanna have moved to a small, quiet, and peaceful town in England to ease his convalescence. What they get though is a small town rife with secrets. A mysterious writer is sending nasty anonymous letters to people which culminates in a local lady committing suicide. The next week, a maid is killed. Are they connected? Did that maid know something about the killer? Christie weaves another fine tale.
Thoughts: Despite this being a Miss Marple, she doesn't appear until more than half way through the book, meaning we hardly get to spend any time with her. She is called in as an expert on humans by the vicar's wife. She figures it out and sets up a trap to nab the murderer.
It was interesting to me how the narrator Jerry Burton drops explicit hints to the reader, saying that certain things turn out to be important and how he could have solved the mystery earlier had he paid more attention. I did take notice and I still didn't figure it out; I read Miss Marple's explanation and it still didn't help me very much. But I liked this and I enjoyed the little romance. I know Christie is a mystery writer and she frequently writes the most awful things about women as if they were facts that apply to all women but she writes cute romances. She couldn't sustain an entire book with them but as a garnishing to the mystery, they work well.
Overall: 4/5. Could have been higher if there had been more Miss Marple(less)
The Mysterious Mr. Quin by Agatha Christie Bantam Books, 1930 234 pages Mystery 3/5 stars British Book Challenge
Summary: A collection of sho...moreThe Mysterious Mr. Quin by Agatha Christie Bantam Books, 1930 234 pages Mystery 3/5 stars British Book Challenge
Summary: A collection of short stories featuring Mr. Satterthwaite and Mr. Quin as they unravel various mysteries.
Thoughts: I wasn't sure what this was as I am just endeavoring to read every Agatha Christie. I was pleased to discover that they were short stories because I usually enjoy her short story collections. I was less pleased with the mysteries on offer and I ended up confused regarding Mr. Quin.
What happens in each story, basically, is that Mr. Satterthwaite is an observer of the human drama and when Mr. Quin appears, he encourages Satterthwaite to think things over and figure out what the solution to the mystery is. In several cases, he prevents a suicide and in all he improves the lives of the innocent. Because of their shortness and the fact that he was reviewing cases from years previous, there was a lack of urgency and less satisfaction than I'm used to feeling at the end of a successful conclusion to a mystery.
The confusing part to me was the character of Harley Quin who is like a harlequin. A harlequin is apparently a comic servant who helps unravel romantic entanglements, which Quin does. I had thought he was an angel or something because he appears when there's need of him and then magically disappears at the end of each story. I am wondering if this is a British element and thus I didn't understand it or if harlequins were popular in the 1930s and thus I didn't understand. But that element really put me off the stories.
Overall: Unsatisfying mystery stories and confusing element.
Cover: This cover drives home the point about harlequins. (less)
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie Avenel Books, 1937 164 pages Mystery; Hercule Poirot 4.5/5 stars
Summary: A fabulously wealthy, young b...moreDeath on the Nile by Agatha Christie Avenel Books, 1937 164 pages Mystery; Hercule Poirot 4.5/5 stars
Summary: A fabulously wealthy, young bride named Linnet is murdered on a boat while on her honeymoon. The top suspect would be her former best friend who was first engaged to Linnet's husband but she has a clearcut alibi. Luckily Hercule Poirot is on the case!
Thoughts: I knew this was one of Christie's more famous works so I had pretty high expectations. The opening reminded me somewhat of other famous ones like Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None as it gives a brief vignette of all of the characters who will be part of the story.
The victim is a rather awful girl, Linnet, who stole her best friend's fiance and is consequently being stalked by that best friend on her honeymoon. Linnet has always gotten everything she's wanted and is thus very displeased at having that best friend stalking her on her honeymoon. However this friend Jacqueline sucks too and I couldn't understand Poirot's kindness to her.
Besides solving the murder, he also accounts for two other criminals yet Poriot seems to be sentimental and lets the one off to possible romantic bliss. There are some other subplots too but the murder is the main focus.
I did not like the end although I somewhat puzzled out the murderer! But really I did not like the end which has a bit of the Murder on the Orient Express to it (hopefully this makes sense if you've read both. I don't want to spoil it-let's just say I like using the court system for justice.)
Overall: An outstanding story from Christie with exciting characters although I personally do not like the end.
Cover: This is not the cover I had but of course I had to show the Black Dog & Leventhal edition because I love them so much!(less)
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Translated Michael Hulse Penguin, 1989 Originally published 1774 134 pages Classic 3/5 stars
Sourc...moreThe Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Translated Michael Hulse Penguin, 1989 Originally published 1774 134 pages Classic 3/5 stars
Source: Bought for class
Summary: A young man kills himself after being disappointed in love.
Thoughts: I thought this was so boring. I kept falling asleep while I was reading it. The most interesting part was the introduction which explained how part one of the book is based on a real-life experience for Goethe and part two is based on a case where a man killed himself for love.
I think I struggled against his ideal of female perfection, which includes a woman who is acting like a mother to her siblings after the death of their mother (reminded me of Bleak House) and just sounds really boring. The language was a bit too flowery and I didn't sympathize with Werther falling for a woman who clearly states that she is already involved with another man.
Overall: A short classic that you could read fairly quickly but not my taste at all!
Cover: This isn't my cover as I have an earlier Penguin edition but it fits.(less)
I read this book in English class with a hated teacher who gave us an incredibly difficult assignment around Walden that I struggled with and for whic...moreI read this book in English class with a hated teacher who gave us an incredibly difficult assignment around Walden that I struggled with and for which he provided insufficient support. Additionally Walden is just super boring. I've also tried to read Emerson as he and Thoreau share some Transcendentalist ideas but alas I find them both super boring.(less)
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson HarperCollins, 2005 217 pages YA; Contemporary 4/5 stars
Source: Free NookBook
Read for YA Overlooked Book Battl...more13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson HarperCollins, 2005 217 pages YA; Contemporary 4/5 stars
Source: Free NookBook
Read for YA Overlooked Book Battle.
I was so disconcerted that this book was written in third person instead of first. Every time it referred to Ginny instead of her referring to herself made me mentally rewind. I just felt like it was a book that would have worked as first person. Not that I didn't like it in third.
The plot is that Ginny's aunt died and after her death, Ginny received a bundle of 13 envelopes sending her off on a trip around Europe. I have to agree with the boy Ginny meets, named Keith, who correctly observes that her aunt is flaky and kind of nuts to have come up with this plan for Ginny. Her adventures were interesting but I was worried about her safety and her mental health in still dealing with the loss of her aunt.
Once I ignored that quibble though, I loved Ginny's adventures. She traveled all over western Europe, seeing many places that I hope to see some day. The descriptions were great and there was a lot of hilarity. Ginny meets some many different people and they all teach her something valuable about life even if she doesn't realize it at the time. I can also see how the sequel will start, based on the ending to this book. Hopefully I can read that soon. (less)
Read for class-will be watching Orson Welles' film adaptation soon, which should be very interesting. While a classic and historically important book,...moreRead for class-will be watching Orson Welles' film adaptation soon, which should be very interesting. While a classic and historically important book, it's not my taste at all.(less)
I want to read The Last Dickens but when I was in the library I came across The Dante Club, Matthew Pearl's first novel so I decided to check it out.
S...moreI want to read The Last Dickens but when I was in the library I came across The Dante Club, Matthew Pearl's first novel so I decided to check it out.
Summary: As a group of America's most famous poets work to create the first American translation of Dante's The Divine Comedy against great pressure from the Harvard Corporation, a series of murders ripped from those very pages are committed. The club bands together to solve the mystery and protect Dante's reputation.
I have never read Dante but I am now much more interested in doing so. I know The Divine Comedy is on my (massive) TBR list but I will be making more of an effort to read it now. The historical detail and world created were fantastic-I felt like I was in Boston in 1865. I liked the characters a great deal, the narrative shifts to follow them around.
Again I did not figure out who the murderer was :-( I also had some difficulty distinguishing the characters. Lowell and Longfellow's names were too similar for me sometimes and many of the peripheral female characters had the same name (I realize this is historically accurate but it was hard for me). I also kept wanting Holmes to be either his son, the famous Supreme Court Justice, or Sherlock Holmes which is just weirdness on my part.
Overall: I would rate this 3 1/2 out of 5 stars; it was mostly enjoyable but not addicting. I definitely want to read Pearl's Dickens and Poe books. I may like them more as I am more familiar with those authors.(less)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak Alfred A. Knopf, 2005 550 pages YA; Historical 3.5/5 stars
Source: My sister bought it and now I have borrowed it.
Summary: (...moreThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak Alfred A. Knopf, 2005 550 pages YA; Historical 3.5/5 stars
Source: My sister bought it and now I have borrowed it.
Summary: (from goodreads) "It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. "
Thoughts: I saw many rave reviews of this before I started reading it so I had high hopes. Alas I must be an exception for while I can see the strengths of it, it didn't work for me.
I liked the idea of Death as narrator but Zusack's Death isn't as good as Terry Pratchett's Death. I liked the idea of a young girl in Nazi Germany. Despite the popularity of WWII in film and fiction, I still feel as if there isn't as much in YA (in general I feel like there isn't much historical fiction in YA at all). Another problem was that despite the little moments in the book, the overwhelming feeling I got from it was depression especially as Hitler and the Holocaust are referenced frequently. I know the Holocaust was an awful event and I do not want anything of that kind to ever happen again but I personally had trouble handling that aspect. I also didn't like the use of German, followed by a rough translation of what was said-I found it annoying, perhaps because I have studied German and didn't always need the translation so it was like having something repeated to me.
My favorite part was the descriptions of books and the joyful experience of reading. Liesel certainly needed some good in her life and I think book bloggers will appreciate those passages. The ending did make me cry. The death all around was too much and practically everyone dies.
Overall: While I recognize this as a book that is kind of book that wins awards, I didn't particularly like it.
Cover: The dominoes are a good choice for the cover.(less)